Meet the mothers and daughters who run successful businesses together

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha
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Have you ever thought about going into business with your mother, but pictured it ending up as a real-life nightmare? In the spirit of Mothering Sunday (30 March), we asked 20 mothers and daughters who have taken their relationship that one step further, about the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly part of working together.

From international brand Toni&Guy to a local coffee shop down the road, these successful and inspiring duos share their stories about thinking telepathically in meetings and the dreaded aspect of telling each other off. Take a look below...

(Words: Sejal Kapadia, Main image: Rex Features)

  • The hair colouring experts

    Behind the Mayfair luxury hair salon, Jo Hansford, is mother Jo Hansford who has been hailed as 'the best tinter on the planet' by American Vogue, and her daughter Joanna Hansford, who is Managing Director of the company. Joanna's control of the business strategy, means Jo can focus on everything creative. Their clients include the Duchess of Cambridge, Sienna Miller and Angelina Jolie.

    The best part: “We get to see each other all the time! Our relationship has become stronger and closer since we have worked together,” says daughter Joanna.

    The worst part: “I’m not allowed to choose my hair colour - mum always has the final say!"

  • The digital agency businesswomen

    When Vicki's father, Allan, died in 2010, she was motivated to set up her own design and digital agency called Nalla (Allan backwards). Vicki's mum Christine came on board as an accountant for the company and four years later she's still part of the day-to-day running of it.

    The best part: "Working with my daughter means I have flexibility to work part time. Plus I'm a sounding board for her," says mother Christine.

    The worst part: "Sometimes it can be challenging giving your mother feedback, it’s a sudden role reversal" says daughter Vicki.

  • The interior designers

    Mother and daughter interior designers, Monika and Geraldine Apponyi, joined forces in 2007 at Monika's London design practice, MM Design, now rebranded to Apponyi Design. Together, they have completed projects across Europe and America, and have made it on House and Garden's 100 Top Interior Designers list several times.

    The best part: "There is this incredible telepathy that happens when working together that I think can really only occur with two people as close as a mother and daughter."

    The worst part: "Criticism from one’s mother, or indeed from one’s daughter, as rare as it is with us, and as constructive as it is always inevitably meant to be, just somehow hits home more, and digs just that little bit deeper!"

  • The skin aficionados

    Having worked in pharmacognosy (plant medicine), trained as a massage therapist at the National Institute of Medical Herbalists and become a founding member of the International Federation of Aromatherapists in 1985, Margaret Weeds decided to create a remedy for allergy-prone skin after her daughter, Abi, suffered from eczema. Requests from friends followed and Abi took it upon herself to commercially launch the skincare range as Odylique’s Repair Lotion.

    The best part: "It’s amazing to have been able to bring my mother’s life’s work to fruition and all the more so because it often helps other people overcome skin problems," says daughter Abi.

    The worst part: "Trying to have a ‘normal’ mother-daughter relationship. Our discussions can get quite explosive at times, so we have to get to the end of the day and be able to put business aside which isn’t always easy!"

  • The talk show duo

    While mother Trisha Goddard, currently films her talkshow in the USA for NBC, her daughter, Billie Gianfrancesco, handles her PR in the UK.

    The best thing: "With her living abroad, it’s a great excuse to chat to her on a regular basis, where otherwise I might not," says daughter Billie.

    The worst thing: "Nothing! Except for the fact that my sister and dad sometimes feel left out of conversations round the dinner table," says Billie.

  • The property managers

    Anke Werner is the Managing Director of Teamstar Holiday Rentals in Spain and works alongside her daughter Kyla, who joined the company a couple of years ago. Together, they market and manage 150 rental properties and over 600 properties for sale at any one time.

    The best part: "We trust each other 100% which is great when working in a busy environment."

    The worst part: "We are very similar in character, which can be both a positive and a negative… it depends on our moods!"

  • The skincare innovaters

    When mother Dr Zarifa Hamzayeva's groundbreaking ingredient, Gazelli White Oil, met the creative direction and business acumen of her daughter, Jamila Askarova, they created the renowned Gazelli Triple Youth skincare range.

    The best part: “We have different zones of expertise, which keeps everything in motion. We are two halves that make a whole and our connection as a mother and daughter is at the heart of everything we do.”

    The worst part: “The generation gap often leads to lively discussions as we can vary in opinion or visualise things differently."

  • The children's book makers

    While Wendy Meddour writes the copy for her hit children's book series Wendy Quill – which are loosely based on Meddour's quirky childhood memories – her talented 12-year-old daughter, Mina May, draws the illustrations on an iPad after-school.

    The best part: When they started working together, "It’s like she [Mina May] was able to get inside my head and draw what I was imagining," said Meddour. "I looked at my illustrations and Mina’s were much better.”

    The worst part: "I think some publishers were put off by the fact that a child so young would be illustrating it but then others absolutely loved the idea."

  • The Hair whizzes

    As the daughter of Toni&Guy co-founder, Toni Mascolo, Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck is Global Creative Director at the hairdressing company. She works with her mother Pauline Mascolo on Toni&Guy's Charitable Foundation.

    The best part: "Is witnessing her unbounded passion and energy for helping people. She showed me at a young age that it didn't take much to be nice to people or lend a helping hand, but that those small acts could go a long way to boosting someone else's happiness," says daughter Sacha.

    The worst part: "I will say that sometimes she's so busy looking after other people that she forgets to look after herself so I sometimes have to remind her to take a break and do something nice for herself," says Sacha.

  • The textile designers

    Mother and daughter Ishbel and Esther both graduated in print textile design at Glasgow School of Art and Grays School of Art in Aberdeen. So it's only inevitable that now they run their very own textile design business, Rhubarb and Ginger, from their basement studio in their family home.

    The best thing: "Designing in a very similar style and sharing a passion for colour.”

    The worst thing: "When you have such a close relationship, there is no hiding your emotions from each other."

  • The business consultants

    When Nicky Rudd launched her business communications agency Padua Communications in 2009, her mum, Moira, was the first person to join her team after she retired from her job as a primary school deputy head teacher and she was an invaluable part of setting up the business.

    The best part: "She and I have the same sense of humour and we get to spend more time together - even with me being in Surrey and her being based in Dorset. I'm about to have my first baby and she is being uber supportive at the moment," says daughter Nicky.

    The worst part: "Sometimes her social life gets in the way. She's an active member of the University of the Third Age and cycles roughly 25 miles every Tuesday!"

  • The ethical warriors

    When mother and daughter Lynn and Jessica Ball realised they both loved beautifully crafted, slightly unusual, and ethically produced products they decided to start their own business together selling just that. At Yours Sustainably they carefully source fashion and home products from all around the world.

    The best part: "Having a shared vision for the business, a joint interest in craft, and of course getting to work together."

    The worst part: "It can be difficult to switch off from work when we get home."

  • The educaters

    When daughter Calypso launched The Indytute – a company that offers hand-picked workshops on everything from ukulele classes to paper engineering – mother Clare helped build the brand by writing copy for the website and managing the workshops.

    The best thing: "The trust and the infinite support my mum gives me, even when I'm being a bit difficult," says daughter Calypso.

    The worst thing: "We can get easily distracted. After a meeting you might spot us on a spontaneous shopping trip."

  • The retail merchandisers

    Walk into some of the UK’s leading supermarkets, department stores and high street retailers and you’re likely to see some of UK POS’s point of sale display products. Their Sales & Marketing Director, Debra Jamieson, works alongside her daughter Gerogia who is an E-Commerce Assistant at the company.

    The best bit: "Is knowing the other's expectations and standard of work. A big part of working alongside any colleague is knowing what makes them tick and we have an advantage in knowing how best to work with each other on different projects."

    The worst bit: "For Georgia's part, it's incredibly important that she gains recognition for her input and hard work in her own right rather than always being associated as 'Debbie's daughter'."

  • The arts and crafts duo

    Living on their family farm just outside of Maidstone, Kate (mother) and Gemma Black (daughter) often talked about setting up a business together. When Kate left her corporate job because it wasn't right for her, they decided to set up This Art of Mine, an arts and crafts centre that teaches classes in sewing, water colours, and art for children. The duo teach most of the classes themselves.

    The best part: “It’s great to be able to work together as we know what each other is thinking, we have a telepathic intuition and work very similarly ,particularly with regards to our customers.”

    The worst part: “We also live with each other, which means our work and home life are merged. This means it can be very difficult to switch off.”

  • The coffee shop owners

    Mother, Frankie Godding, and daughter, Sophie Godding, together run an independent coffee shop in Colliers Wood, South West London, which opened its doors just six months ago.

    The best part: "We both enjoy the same sense of humour and love having a laugh with the customers. It goes without saying that the post work drinks are good too!"

    The worst part: "Being told what to do by my daughter (although she does it very well) and I don't think she likes me seeing all the good-looking customers as potential boyfriends (for her!)," says mother Frankie.

  • The hair stylists

    In 1986, Kay opened an upmarket boutique salon named Kay and Kompany Organic Hair & Beauty in leafy Muswell Hill, London. Just as passionate about hair was her daughter, Ellie, who joined the business when she turned 16 and in 2012, at the age of 27, she was made 50% partner of the business.

    The best part: "Sharing the responsibilities and knowing we have each others' back"

    The worst part: "Not being allowed to proudly call Kay 'mum' in the salon," says daughter Ellie.

  • The baby shower organisers

    Holly Huggins and Karen Colam are the mother and daughter duo behind baby shower event planning company Hug & Co. Their company employs women from all walks of life as consultant 'Angels' that represent the brand and its products independently, part-time and from home.

    The best thing: "We share a brain! Which means we can usually make decisions unilaterally without fear of disagreement."

    The worst thing: "We share a brain! So sometimes we focus too much on the same aspects of the business."

  • The luxury businesswomen

    While Deborah Simpson Boston runs her luxury accessories company Boston&Boston with her husband, her mum is her right-hand-woman when it comes to buying products for the website.

    The best part: "It's brilliant to have family helping with the business. Mum always has a good ear for a second opinion and some pretty savvy business suggestions too."

    The worst part: "She speaks her mind to waitresses and celebrities alike and may have tripped up a model (by accident) at a recent catwalk show. We both flushed shades of crimson!"

  • The caterers

    Guilford based catering company Hilly's is run by Kate Heysmond-Hart and her mother. They use locally sourced ingredients and even herbs from mum's garden.

    The best part: "We get to catch up all and every day and evening calls always start with ‘any news?’"

    The worst part: "There are no secrets!"

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Sejal Kapadia Pocha

Sejal Kapadia Pocha covers stories about everything from women’s issues to cult foods. She describes herself as a balance between Hermione and Luna Lovegood.